I still can’t believe how good both Despicable Me and now Despicable Me 2 are considering who wrote them. The films’ writers, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, are responsible for Bubble Boy, College Road Trip, Hop, and The Lorax. But these two films following the misadventures of retired villain Gru (Steve Carell) and his many minions should be nowhere near as hilarious as they are. Maybe the success falls on the shoulders of directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, but it seems like as long as they aren’t dabbling in the world of Dr. Seuss, things definitely turn out for the better.
Despicable Me 2 brings us up to speed with the loveable Gru, as he continues to father his three little girls — Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher). At the Arctic Circle, a laboratory has disappeared; while back home, Agnes is treated to a birthday party, complete with Gru dressing up like a fairy princess and the minions attempt magic shows involving a balloon and a chainsaw. Soon enough, Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) shows up and kidnaps Gru, taking him to the underwater Anti-Villains League. Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) informs Gru that they need his help as an ex-villain to try to find whoever has stolen a transformation elixir called PX41.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) has left for a new — more evil — job offer, and someone is snatching up minions. Gru must also deal with the fact that Agnes is doing a horrible job prepping for her mother’s day recital, and Margo is becoming obsessed with boys. Antonio in particle Gru doesn’t like because he’s the son of Mexican restaurant owner, Eduardo (Benjamin Bratt), whom Gru believes to be another ex-villain, El Macho who supposedly jumped out of a plane riding a shark strapped with 20 tons of dynamite into an active volcano. Now Gru is out to save the world, if he can figure out who the real bad guy is before it’s too late.
In all honesty, I haven’t seen the first Despicable Me since it came out, although I do remember liking it a lot. But Despicable Me 2 is definitely a funnier film. The minions even wind up getting the biggest laughs this time around, where they nearly wore out their welcome in the first film. The end still winds up in a musical number, but at least the setting makes it feel more organic. Agnes continues to be the scene-stealer and Lucy Wilde starts off being super grating, but she really grows on you. Thankfully, the movie focuses a lot of attention on Gru’s relationship with his daughters, which is where the first film shined to begin with. They also sneak in a few film references only the adults will get. If the series continues to keep its imaginative energy — along with the heart and laughs — at full throttle, Despicable Me is a series I can’t wait to see more of.
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures